Photo by: Susana Raab, 2015
Once upon a time there was a man who sought his fortune in the world. He was mining for gold—his own vein of gold.
Every morning he would go deep into the earth to a place where a pinnacle of rock stood in the middle of an underground lake. And there, every day, as he went to work, he would ask the question, “Giver, Earth, where can I find my vein of gold?” It was an unusual question, but more unusual was that the pinnacle of rock would answer without fail, “Follow your heart and follow your dreams and you will find your vein of gold.”
The man would concentrate and try to hear what his heart said. He would listen for intuition, calculate, and set off down one of the caver trails. In each of his quests, he had found wonderful crystals of amethyst and citrine, but he still could not find his vein of gold.
You see, although the crystals were highly prized in the market and provided a good living for he and his wife, he was tired of mining. The man wanted to do more fun things like play music and paint furniture. But he believed he needed to keep mining until he found his vein of gold. He believed once he found his vein of gold he would no longer have to go into the mine and then he could be happy.
This man’s wife loved him very much. She did not like to see him unhappy. She decided she would help her husband. She could search with him and together they might find this vein of gold sooner. Her husband was elated by this news. Together, they would find their vein of gold and then, finally then, they would be happy.
The next morning they went deep into the earth. They came to the place where the pinnacle of rock stood in the underground lake. There, the man asked the rock, “Giver, Earth, where can I find my vein of gold?” As always, the pinnacle of rock replied, “Follow your heart and follow your dreams and you will find your vein of gold.”
His wife was, of course, shocked. What an unusual rock! “What does it say? What does your heart say?”
The husband became solemn as he concentrated on the messages from his heart. He pushed himself past his wandering thoughts of music and furniture and focused on mining.
“Second from the right,” he said.
“You have a very practical heart,” replied his wife.
“And it can read maps too,” he laughed. “Come on, let’s find our vein of gold.”
But they did not find their vein of gold. They found beautiful amethyst, citrine, and even rose quartz, but no vein of gold.
“What beautiful gifts the earth gives us!” exclaimed the wife as she looked at their treasure.
“But not our vein of gold,” sighed the man.
“Do not be sad, Husband, look at this beautiful treasure. It will feed us for a month!”
“Yes, but not for a year,” he responded, “I will have to come back to the mines tomorrow.”
“Then I shall be with you,” said his wife.
The next morning they went deep into the earth. The came upon the pinnacle rock at the center of the underground lake. There the woman asked her husband, “Dear, if this vein of gold be both of ours, then let me ask today. Our hearts will work better together.” “Yes! Yes!” the man said excitedly, “That is the answer! Now we will find our vein of gold!”
The woman bowed deeply and asked, “Dear Rock, Giver Earth, where can I find my vein of gold?” The unusual rock answered, “Follow your heart and follow your dreams and you will find your vein of gold.”
“Well?” The husband inquired, “What does your heart say?”
The wife smiled as she thought of carving a gift of stone out of the amethyst they had been given. “My heart says, ‘Thank You’.”
“Beyond that,” the husband pushed.
“I cannot go beyond that,” the wife mused, “My heart is full of love and appreciation. It can only say, ‘thank you’.”
“You can’t find gold in ‘thank you’,” the husband replied testily. “My heart says, second from the right, down the passage to the left and up the hilly tunnel, just to the right after you round the corner.”
“You have a practical heart,” she said. “But I cannot dig today, for I must follow my heart.”
“Where,” he asked.
“To say ‘thank you,” She kissed her husband and started back the way they had come.
And so the man went down the second from the right, to the passage on the left and just up the hilly tunnel on the right, just after rounding the corner. His wife sat at the mouth of the cave entrance with some of the treasure they had found the day before and began to carve.
She had so much fun! She carved a beautiful bird from the amethyst with its wings spread in full flight. She thought this might please the unusual rock, as birds did not fly that deep into the earth.
As she stood admiring her work, the mayor of the town happened by.
“Well, what a beautiful creation!” exclaimed the mayor.
“Oh, thank you,” she replied, “I was just making a gift.”
“Can you make another one? It is my wife’s birthday and I would love to give her one as a present.”
“Absolutely,” she replied excitedly. But just then, her heart unexpectedly spoke to her. “It is good work that I enjoy doing, but I told my husband I would help him mine his vein of gold.”
“I will pay you one month’s wages,” replied the mayor.
“Well, my husband cannot mind that!” She said, “I will carve a bird for your wife.”
“Can you make a penguin? She loves penguins.”
“Of course, that sounds like fun!”
And so the wife carved an exquisite citrine penguin for the mayor’s wife.
“It’s beautiful!” he exclaimed.
“Oh, thank you, Sir. It was very fun to do!”
Just then a couple came along the path.
“That is so beautiful,” remarked the man. “Absolutely gorgeous,” agreed the woman. “I must have one.”
“Well, I would love to make one for you. They are fun to do,” but just ten her heart spoke to her. “It is good work that I enjoy doing, but I told my husband I would help him mine his vein of gold.”
“I will pay you two months wages,” replied the woman as the man with her bobbed his head in agreement.
“Well, my husband cannot mind that! I will carve you a penguin.”
“Can you make a cat?” asked the woman.
“Of course. That sounds like fun!”
And so the wife carved a beautiful cat from the rose quartz she had mined with her husband the day before.
“It’s beautiful!” the couple exclaimed.
“Oh, thank you. Thank you,” said the wife, “It was very fun to do.”
Just then a holy man came along the path. “Why that is a beautiful cat,” said the Holy Man, “It was a creation of the heart.”
“Yes! It was from the heart,’ replied the woman, “It felt so good to hold the stone in my hand and carve out the hidden form beneath.”
“Because it is from the heart, it is a healing figure. Will you create a holy icon for my temple,” he asked.
Just then, the wife’s heart spoke to her. “It is good work I enjoy doing, but I told my husband I would help him mine his vein of gold.”
“I will pay you,” said the Holy Man.
The wife’s heart spoke to her again and she replied, “I will make your icon, but I cannot accept payment from you. It will be my gift of love to your temple.”
The holy man smiled.
Just as she was finishing the holy icon, her husband emerged from the cave after his day’s work. He was sad again because he had not found his vein of gold. Instead, he found fluorite and clear quartz. He saw a large crowd at the mouth of the cave and was eager to know what was going on. In the middle of the crowd was his wife, finishing a beautiful aventurine icon.
“This holy icon will give strength and courage. Your work of the heart will inspire many,” praised the Holy Man. “I thank you for inspiring me to create such a wonderful statue,” the wife answered gratefully. “I have never known such joy in a day’s work! I give you this gift, from my heart, with love.”
As she handed the Holy Man the icon, her husband could not help but interrupt. “You give?” he stuttered, “Why do you give?” He continued, his voice rising, “I have slaved all day in the deep, dark belly of the earth searching for our vein of gold while you have played with your silly carving! That is not a day’s work!” His face was red with anger, “I have worked hard for this stone and you just give it away! We cannot afford you heart and it’s ‘thanks,” he finished.
Before the wife could tell him of her day’s earnings, the Holy Man held up a hand and quieted her. “Why do you believe this is play?” asked the Holy Man. “Because it is enjoyable? Work does not have to be slavery. Work must support you in body, mind, and spirit. If your body is fed, but your mind is starving for something more, the spirit will become depleted—unable to appreciate and absorb the nourishment of the body.” The Holy Man continued, “But if the spirit is nurtured and the mind is fully inspired, the sustenance for the body is only ever a prayer away.”
“Prayer will not fill my belly,” said the husband.
“You have a practical heart,” said the wife, as she handed him the three months of wages she had earned that day.
“Where did all this come from?” the surprised man asked his wife.
“I have followed my heart and followed my dreams. Here is my vein of gold,” she answered. ”Now what does your heart say?”